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Friday, August 9, 2013

Simple Animal "Facts" to Brighten your Day

Cows have best friends.

A group of flamingos is called a “flamboyance.”

Millions of trees grow every year thanks to squirrel’s forgetting where they put their nuts.

There are two kittens in this picture, baby bunnies are called kits, which is short for kitten.

Butterflies can taste with their feet.

Sea otters hold each other’s paws when they sleep so they don’t drift apart.

There’s an immortal jellyfish.

When rabbits jump and twist out of excitement, it is called a binky.

Humpback whales have their own “pop” music.

Gentoo penguins propose to their lifemates* with a pebble.

Sea horses are monogamous life mates and travel holding each other’s tails.

Male pups will intentionally let female pups “win” when they play-fight so they can get to know them better.

Monkeys don’t like unequal pay either.

Worms communicate by snuggling.

Elephants show remarkable empathy, even to other species.

Fish use tools.

A cat’s nose is ridged with a unique pattern, just like a human fingerprint.

Dolphins have names for one other.

Cows produce more milk when listening to smooth jams.

Aside from nesting, common swift spend their entire lives in air, living on insects they catch in flight.

A group of porcupines is called a “prickle.”

Chimp babies play with dolls.

Rats laugh.

There’s a beluga with a fine appreciation for the arts.

This dog exists.

There’s an animal called the quokka and it’s the happiest animal in the world.

And this bunny too, who just read through this list and couldn’t be happier with all the wonderful parts of the animal world.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ghost tour of the French Quarter New Orleans & The Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, LA

I have been wanting to tour the Myrtles, an historic and allegedly haunted plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana for years, and we finally did so recently.
Unfortunately, the current owners only allow photographs to be taken in the foyer at the beginning of the tour, but fortunately for us, my family caught several very interesting photographs there in the middle of the afternoon.
I don't know if I will ever have the guts to stay the night in the main house B&B, so this may be as close as I ever get to witnessing the hauntings at The Myrtles.
Below are 3 photos I took that show what seems to be an apparition appearing right in front of me.  I quickly snapped, for no reason I was aware of, 3 photos of the same doorway.
In the first photo, you see the door, and to the right of it there is a buffet table with a statue on it and a gold framed mirror above it. I believe the dark blur to the left of the doorway is the camera belonging to the person standing to my left.

Then in the second photo I took, you start to see an orange light appearing on the right side, in front of the buffet table.
Then in this 3rd photo, you clearly see the door and the buffet table, with just a hint of the black statue on it. What can't be explained, is the flesh toned apparition to the left of that, at about eye level to me, as well as the dark area behind and to the right of it. Everything is clear except for the apparition and the area around it. The edge of the mirror would have been on the top right of my photo and can't be seen. I can't tell if I'm seeing the profile of someone, a man maybe? with a beard? and his shoulder/chest area...?
What do you think?

Below, is a photo my son, Shaun, took of an orb coming down the stairs. If you zoom in, it's blurry around the orb and clear everywhere else, except in the foyer where it looks like there's sunlight kind of blurring things. But the stairs were clear, except around the orb. I don't want to claim ectoplasm in the foyer since it could be sunlight.

We also took the Haunted History Ghost Tour of the French Quarter in New Orleans one evening.
The most interesting photo was taken by my son, Ryan. He took a picture at the infamous LaLaurie house, of a window through the arch above the courtyard door.

At first glance you don't really see anything, but when you crop the photo, you can see a light apparition looking out of the window. First we made out the tuxedo jacket, and then we looked closer and noticed that the head was a skull. When my son Shaun googled "LaLaurie mansion skeleton butler", we found out that it is a known legend, and many people have taken photos of this apparition. This was the first time either of us had ever taken photos of an apparition. Usually I get orbs, mostly at night time and usually at Christmas family get-togethers. I caught strange light anomalies, ectoplasm? at the St. Louis cemetery No. 1 in the daytime, which was a first for me.

Here's a cool photo my son Shaun took in Jackson Square. On the right side you see a planter with an orb in front of it. Look at the lady to the left of it. Her arm and purse are blurred. The rest of the photo is clear.

This was a fun, exciting trip. We enjoyed the tours and would love to do it again. New Orleans is always a great place to visit, and we never get to stay long enough, which gives us an excuse to return - especially for the beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Poshmark - My New Addiction!

If you haven't checked out the app Poshmark yet, do it!
It only works on Apple products..Ipad, Iphone, and Ipod Touch, so that's a must. And it's optimized for Iphone 5.
What is Poshmark you ask?
Well, I'm glad you asked!  Think Ebay, Etsy & the greatest Thrift Shop all blended into one.
As a seller, I had given up on Ebay, because the fees were kicking my butt.  The auctions only last 7 days, and it took many auctions to sell my clothing items.  At 25-30 cents per week x 200 or more listings to list it all + the fee they charge after the sale & paypal fees for accepting payments, it was really adding up!
Enter Poshmark!
List for FREE in your "closet", and it stays there until it sells.  The only time you pay a fee is when your item sells.  At that time Poshmark takes 20% of the sales price, and then they provide you with the pre-paid postage label that the buyer paid for.
The only draw-backs I've found so far are (1) Be careful that your item doesn't weigh more than 2 lbs. Otherwise, you need to make sure to figure in the extra $1.99/lb to the asking price, and (2) For purchases less than $25, Poshmark has decided to charge a flat rate postal rate of $6.99, as opposed to the $4.99 they charge for purchases over $25.  So that discourages small purchases, and many buyers/sellers resort to off-site deals via Paypal.  But Beware!  I've been burned twice this week on Paypal deals. I'm trying to get a refund through buyer protection on 1 purchase, and the other was a "personal" payment, so I had no protection.  Live and Learn :(
Other than that, it's been amazing.  I've listed several hundred items in the past few weeks, and it's so super easy.
First, you download the app.  Then you create a user ID, which will be the name of your closet / website they assign you.  That will be your "closet" that gets shopped.  Then you tap "sell", take up to 4 photos of your item, a brief title, description, price & save it.  Voila! You're in business.
And searching for items to purchase is easy with the Poshmark parties & the "feed", which has a search feature for either items or people you're looking for.
For selling, I've been using the InstaFrame app to create some very nice photos that I then upload to Posh.
First I take a picture with my Iphone. Then, using the InstaFrame app, I can pull the photo off my camera roll, make it sharp and clear, add a pretty frame, and save it.  Then when I go to "sell" on Poshmark, it has you select where you want to get the photo, either take a photo or get it from your camera roll. From my camera roll, I select the InstaFrame version I just saved.  It couldn't be easier to upload professional looking, fun photos of my clothing, jewelry, shoes, handbags, etc. that I have listed in my closet.
Have a bunch of stuff lying around that you need to get rid of & you just can't bear to just give it away?  Don't take it to the resale, where you only get 40% of what it's worth.  List it on Poshmark.
People will make offers and perhaps ask you to bundle their purchase with several items in your closet, and it gets addicting, because it's all Live and instant, which is fun!  When I was just selling on Etsy, if I sold 1 or 2 things in a week, that was a good week for me.  Now I do more than that in 1 day on Poshmark.  I can really see this becoming a big deal, like Ebay.

Check it out & be sure to Follow me there (like Twitter) - go to the feed and search people: I'm @Pookeysmom
Here's the web address of my closet:

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I Want One of These!! What a Great Idea!

Retro rotary phone pursePosted by Chica
January 4, 2012 
Probably my favorite appliance in the whole house is my vintage black rotary phone. It is fully functional, has the most amazing ring ever, and is a definite conversation piece at home. Adults wax nostalgic when they see it and kids are delighted and amazed that it’s even a phone. I love it.
retro rotary phone purse
Jo and I were brainstorming a while ago about these old phones and wondering if we could upcycle one into something new and functional. I’m not exactly sure how we ended up there, but we decided it would make a great starting point for a charming, retro purse. Sound too crazy to work? Well, take a look… what do you think?
retro rotary phone purse
So chic, right? If you want to make your own, keep on reading, because I’ve got a full tutorial for you!
First, let me assure you that I did not damage my working telephone. Instead, I sought out parts from another phone that didn’t work. The phone parts you’ll need to make this purse are the handset, cord, and dial mechanism. You’ll also need a 6″ x 3″ clasp for the purse closure.
retro rotary phone purse
To go along with all these parts, we’ve got a free downloadable Rotary Phone Purse Template that will help you cut the pieces you’ll need for this purse. Go ahead and print all 6 pages onto regular white paper.
retro rotary phone purse
The first four pages are for the main shell of the purse. Cut out each piece.
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Following the guidance on the template pieces, line up the edges and secure with a piece of tape to create one large pattern piece.
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For the outer shell of your purse, we recommend you choose a really sturdy fabric. I used a fairly stiff, black vinyl that had a white fuzzy back. You want something with enough body so that the purse will hold its shape. You also want something that will not fray on the cut edges. Use the template you just assembled to cut out a piece of the vinyl for your outer shell.
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Then line the template up with the vinyl again and trace (DO NOT CUT!) the center circle onto the vinyl.
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Use the template one more time to cut another piece out of a coordinating fabric for your purse lining. I used a houndstooth-print satin. You do not need to draw the circle on the lining piece.
retro rotary phone purse
Next, cut out your two circle templates and use them to outline shapes on cardboard. I suggest that you not use corrugated cardboard here, and choose chipboard or other stiff cardboard that won’t bend easily.
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Cut the circles out and take a moment to label them #1 and #2 (match them up with the numbers on the patterns) so that you won’t get them mixed up later. They may look identical, but one is slightly larger than the other so we want to keep them straight!
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Before you start assembling, do a quick check to make sure your pieces are going to work together. Put your clasp on the top edge of the vinyl and make sure that the edges line up. The sides of the fabric will flare out wider than the clasp, but that’s required to give the purse a big enough opening to be usable. Also take circle #1 and put it on top of the dial mechanism. It should fit right into place and rest on the edge without falling down to the table.
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Grab your hot glue gun and put a line of glue on the back of the vinyl, all around the circle you drew, about 1/2″ on the outside. Then press cardboard circle #1 in place, lining up the inside of the cardboard with the circle drawn on the fabric.
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Put a self-healing cutting mat on your table and and use a craft knife to cut lines from the edges to the center of the circle, every 3/4″ or so, until you end up with a sort of starburst series of cuts.
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Fold each point of your star back and glue down with some hot glue. When it is cooled, use scissors to trim off the excess vinyl from each point.
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Stick the dial mechanism into the hole you just created, and flip the whole piece over. The dial should fit very snug and tight. Press down with your fingers all the way around to be sure you have a good fit.
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Flip the piece back over and put a really thick ring of hot glue on the cardboard circle, all the way around. Grab cardboard circle #2 and lay it on top.
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Press the two cardboard circles together really well and make sure they are stuck together all the way around. This is what’s going to keep the dial from falling out of the hole, so you want to make sure you’ve got it good and secure. Pinch and press and let the glue cool completely before continuing.
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Fold the outer shell fabric up, right sides together, and line up the top edge. Use the sewing machine to sew up each side, from the point at the bottom right up to the top of the notch on the side.
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retro rotary phone purse
Now grab one of the bottom corners of the bag and pinch it into a triangle. Flatten it so that the seam runs right down the middle.
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Measure 3″ from the point and mark a line. Sew a row of stitches across the piece at the mark.
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Repeat for the other corner, so that you end up with a nice flat bottom on your bag.
retro rotary phone purse
Trim the excess off of each point.
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Hey, it’s coming right along! Unfortunately, the bag is inside out at this point. And even more unfortunately, it’s going to be an absolute bear to flip right side out again, especially if you used a really stiff vinyl. Stick with it, though, and be patient. The dial WILL fit through the hole, you just need to move slowly and carefully so that you don’t rip any of your seams.
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When you’ve finally got it flipped (and rewarded yourself accordingly for completing such a feat) you’ll see that the shell of the bag is pretty much done!
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Grab your lining fabric, fold it so that the right sides are together, and sew up the sides just like you did for the vinyl. Then flip it inside out so that the pretty side of the fabric is on the outside.
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Cut a piece of cardboard to 9-1/4″ x 2-1/4″ and stick it down inside the lining.
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Arrange the cardboard in the lining bag and hold it so that it’s flat on the bottom. You’ll see that each side has a point of fabric sticking out that looks a lot like the points you formed in the vinyl earlier.
retro rotary phone purse
Hold one of the points in place and use your sewing machine to tack it down with about an inch of stitches, making sure to go right through the cardboard. This may seem weird, but this is going to help us secure the bottom of the lining to the bottom of the bag in a minute, so trust me. Repeat for the other side.
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Flip the lining inside out (so that the pretty side of the fabric is on the inside), revealing the cardboard on the bottom.
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Put a bunch of hot glue on the bottom of the cardboard, then quickly and carefully shove it down into the vinyl shell of the purse.
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Line up the cardboard on the bottom as well as you can, and use your hand to press it down in place. Like I said before, this will keep the bottom of the lining on the bottom of the bag, so that it doesn’t come out with your wallet every time! When you’ve got it secure, you’ll see that the top edges of the lining should line up with the top edges of the vinyl.
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Those top edges don’t really want to stay together, though, especially if you used a really lightweight or silky lining material. To make it easier to work with, put a tiny bit of hot glue around the edge of the vinyl and press the lining in place. This will really help a LOT when it comes time to add the clasp.
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The shell is attached to the clasp using glue, believe it or not. In particular, I used Gutermann glue, which is an amazing fabric glue that seems to be the standard choice among crafters who make purses. It sure did the job for us! Remembering that a little goes a long way, put some glue all down the channel of just ONE side of the clasp.
retro rotary phone purse
Then gather up all that patience you used earlier when flipping the shell inside out because you’re going to need it again. Carefully work the edges of the purse shell up into the glued side of the clasp, optionally using clothespins to help you hold it in place. I also found that a half of a clothespin made a great tool for pushing the fabric up into the channel.
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When you’ve got one side of the purse in the clasp, let it dry completely before attempting to do the other side. I learned this lesson the hard way! It’s very frustrating if you rush it and everything falls apart on you. When both sides are finished, you should have a nice puckered shell.
retro rotary phone purse
I’m amazed by how well this glue holds and by how cute the purse looks with the clasp on!
retro rotary phone purse
All that’s left is to add the handle, which is probably the most clever part of this bag. Start by unscrewing the caps on each end of the phone handset and feed a piece of thin black ribbon through the center hole on each cap.
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Tie a knot in the ribbon and then pull it down tight.
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Once you have a ribbon through each cap, you can screw them back onto the handset.
retro rotary phone purse
To attach the handset to the phone, feed one of the ribbons under the hinge on the clasp and pull it back out to the side. With the purse and handset on the table, pull the ribbon until you have the length exactly how you want it for your purse handle, then tie it in a good knot.
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Trim the excess ribbon and repeat the process on the other side.
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Take the phone cord and hold it up to the purse to see how long a piece you will need to reach from the handset to the hinge, and cut two pieces that length (regular scissors will do the job).
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Then feed each coil of cord onto one of the ribbons by looping the end around and turning it until it corkscrews its way onto the ribbon, hiding it from view.
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And just like that, you’ve got yourself a retro purse made from a vintage rotary phone!
retro rotary phone purse
My favorite part is the fact that the dial still works. I get nostalgic every time I hear the familiar sound it makes when I dial a number.
retro rotary phone purse
Just try and walk down the street with this purse in your hand and not get a comment or two!
retro rotary phone purse